PUEBLO, Colo. — It’s the little things.
“Before this happened, I was able to walk and hug people. I could pick up things with my left hand, and canoe. I could set up my easel — I could set up anybody’s easel,” said artist Randy Pijoan. “But a blood clot thought otherwise.”
After suffering a stroke in June of 2016, Pijoan lost connection with the left side of his body. He now uses a wheelchair.
“The freedom in choosing a color, or choosing a sky for a piece, is what I miss,” reflects Pijoan. “Just the freedom of knowing what hot gravel feels like under my feet, next to a river, with the hot air blowing.”
Pijoan primarily painted with oils, creating hyper-realistic landscapes and figurative works. He is now exploring new ways of making art, including visually expressing his own health issues — such as painting his migraine headaches.
“What I’m painting now is what I am understanding, as I’m understanding it,” explained Pijoan. “I’m trying to create a dialogue with myself, and with others — to help others understand. I want them to ask me what the paintings are about, so I can tell them, ‘Last week I had a seizure that looked just like this to me.’”
This summer at the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in Pueblo, a retrospective of Pijoan’s work reflects his years living and working in Northern New Mexico and the San Luis Valley. In addition to his personal painting practice and studio, Pijoan ran a community arts space and coffee shop on Main Street of San Luis for years, providing local youth with art instruction and supplies.